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Browns Valley Open Space Preserve

Date: (Sun.) Feb. 25, 2024
Location: Vacaville, CA
Event Director: - 510.681.6181
Course Setter: Richard Thorsted
Type: B; Our second visit to this new map of a "smaller Morgan Territory", with bigger rocks and fewer trees, will offer the standard 7 courses, from Beginner to Advanced; beginners are welcome and can learn about orienteering at free Beginner Clinics

Course/Event Notes

By Richard Thorsted (Course Setter), Andrejus Masalkovas (Course Consultant), and Rex Winterbottom (Event Director)


Brand new for last fall, and nothing major to update.

The courses will be printed at 1:7500 scale. The contour interval is 5 m.


Steep, big rocks, muddy, grass is not very high — cows have mowed it. Cows have also pockmarked the ground, but the ground is soft. Thankfully, the start thistle has been tamed (by the cows?).

There are many small streams, and there are marshy areas — you're gonna get wet. In places, you can kind of sink in.

In general, the area is open savanna with patches of mostly oaky, mostly runnable forest. Some bushy areas, but not too many. There are numerous downed trees/wrecked trees that are mapped as "brown triangles".

Some areas lack rocks, but there are many areas with an abundance of rocks. Like 5-meter-tall kinds of rocks, school-bus sized rocks, and all the various sizes down to stony ground.

Poison oak exists, but we didn't see any on the courses. 😊

Local Wildlife

You may see some cows. Not very aggressive ones. They make paths, quite a few of which are mapped.

There are mountain bikers. They have created many trails just for themselves. Many of which are mapped as usable trails. Down in the valley bifurcating the park, there are trails on either side of the fenceline, and on the north side of the fenceline, there are some mountain-bike implements such as hand-crafted bridges and jumps. Some of those bridges are rickety and a little dicey to traverse.

This park is also a local climbing mecca, so you will see climbers, too. And the proximity to a big swath of suburbia supplies hikers.


Two cliffs are pretty large, like steep drop-offs.

The cows and steers in the area do not seem to be aggressive.


Here are the course details:

Note: There were last-minute changes to the courses. The details below might not be accurate.

    Course    Length    Climb  Controls  Navigation
    White     1.2 km     75 m      9     Beginner      
    Yellow    1.9 km    130 m     12     Advanced Beginner
    Orange    2.8 km    140 m     13     Intermediate  
    Brown     3.1 km    145 m     12     Advanced      
    Green     4.1 km    180 m     16     Advanced
    Red       5.2 km    290 m     22     Advanced
    Blue      6.0 km    375 m     26     Advanced

Map Cases: Our supply is running low, so please bring a map case if you have one, and bring extras if you have them!
Beginners should be aware that the course lengths shown are the cumulative straight-line distances between controls. The climb numbers represent the amount of ascending that would be done on the "optimum route" (in the Course Setter's opinion), without regard for any descending. Because you won't travel in straight lines, and might not follow the optimum routes, your actual distance and climb will be somewhat more than what is shown above, and will depend on your route choices (and any errors you make).

There will probably be a water control on the longer courses.

The Start is a 1/4-mile walk from Browns Valley Elementary School. The Finish is about 1/2 mile from the school.